Trump says Mexico ‘wants to make a deal’ as Mexican officials head to White House to avoid tariffs [New York Times]
Vice President Mike Pence and other top administration officials will meet Wednesday with Mexico’s top diplomat as both sides try to avert the potentially crippling economic consequences of President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports….Mr. Trump’s threat to tax Mexican products has rattled financial markets and prompted an outcry from businesses that would be affected, including automakers, agricultural companies and retailers….Businesses are also worried that the president’s move risks derailing what would be his signature trade achievement: passing the newly negotiated North American trade agreement.
Food banks win in Trump trade war [Stateline]
…Food banks have been the beneficiaries of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program crafted last year and recently extended to support farmers affected by China’s retaliatory tariffs. Part of the farmer bailout includes a $1.4 billion program to buy surplus commodities affected by the trade tariffs and distribute them to food banks, schools and other outlets that serve low-income people. The purchases include beef, grapes, lentils, oranges, pistachios, pork, strawberries and tomatoes. Leaders at food banks say the program has helped them provide their clients with healthy food, though maintaining and distributing perishable goods has come with unexpected costs.
Santa Maria City Council adopts permanent H-2A farmworker housing ordinance [Santa Maria Times]
After more than an hour of discussion, the Santa Maria City Council voted Tuesday to adopt a permanent ordinance governing the housing of H-2A farmworkers in the city’s residential zones. The ordinance requires discretionary permits for housing more than six H-2A workers in a single-family home but allows the housing of employees in medium- and high-density housing zones without the need for local permits.
Stanislaus County to allow hemp cultivation. Tests will make sure it’s not really pot [Modesto Bee]
Stanislaus County leaders approved a pilot program Tuesday allowing for cultivation of industrial hemp on small farm parcels. Participating growers will be able to raise the cannabis-like crop on a maximum 12 acres….Two weeks ago, supervisors ordered staff to quickly develop a pilot project so hemp growers can learn cultivation techniques and the county can study issues such as odors, potential land-use conflicts, testing protocols and the workload for law enforcement. The county has heard interest from about 60 growers since industrial hemp was declassified as a controlled substance in the 2018 national Farm Bill.
Farmers on drenched land confront tough choice on planting [Wall Street Journal]
Millions of farm acres are set to go unplanted with corn this spring as persistent wet weather leaves U.S. farmers facing an agonizing choice: whether or not to risk trying to raise a crop. Heavy, repeated rains over the past two months have left fields saturated throughout the critical planting period for corn, typically the biggest U.S. crop by acreage….The inclement weather adds another challenge to a punishing period for farmers, seed and chemical suppliers, and tractor makers. Trade disputes with major U.S. food importers including Mexico and China have cut into crop prices, adding pressure to farm incomes, after several years of bumper harvests swelled global grain supplies.
Opinion: New privacy law puts California wineries at a competitive disadvantage [Modesto Bee]
…The California Consumer Privacy Act is intended to help consumers safeguard their online identities and sensitive information….Unfortunately, the CCPA was passed without necessary attention to impacts to not only consumers and social media platforms, but to all California businesses, like family wineries….The CCPA’s burdens could spell trouble for small wineries in the Coast region and throughout California….The Legislature is considering several bills that will provide businesses like mine some relief.